Personal Book Review of "100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed."
Finished on 10-6-05
First Some Info:
This is Melissa P.'s first novel and was published (not written) when she was seventeen. Over 1,000,000 copies were sold. The book is considered an International Bestseller. In an interview with The Bookseller (UK) Melissa P. stated that she "discovered [herself] through sex." The book is categorized as a fictionalized memoir...leaving you to guess what is real and what is elaboration.
To start, I have two main questions:
--Who are the million + people that bought this book? ( I am honestly curious what the demographics of the people are who bought this book. What is the main selling point? It can't possibly be that people think it is good. The only reason I can understand is the mere scandel of it as well as the turn on for many. A book about a young teen having sex with men of varying ages, being raped, being the slut of up to 5 men at a time, is unfortunately going to be very appealing to many.
--Who did the translation? Does it do her writing justice?
I feel that the writing has been greatly harmed by the translation. If I spoke Italian, I could make the decision myself. Unfortunately I do not. Even if the writing style was improved, the substance is still heavily lacking.
All in all, I think that the idea of the book has potential, but that it failed miserably. The descriptions of sex and of her own feelings were lacking authenticity as well as originality. I felt like the descriptive words were repetitive (which isn’t surprising because it is difficult to come up with different words for the male “member” etc.). I am thoroughly sick of reading the words “my sex.” I was constantly aware of the fact that the author was a teen, and not an experienced writer.
There was a moment toward the end of the book, when I felt something somewhat interesting happening. Then I realized I was inserting meaning, where there wasn’t any. This was the moment, where I saw the potential of the story. It was a brief, brief, moment. The potential that I saw (which again is NOT implied in the book at all and doesn't seem to be in the author’s head whatsoever) is how many women and young girls are often more comfortable with being objects, than feeling like women or girls in a loving relationship. That we are so used to being judged and depicted and desired according to our physical characteristics, and our ability to project a fantasy...so much so that what should feel good and normal (love and respect) is often what we must grow accustomed to as we age. This idea, could have easily been developed alongside the narrative and would have added immensely to the book. Instead we have affair after affair ending with a very dissappointing and unrealistic relationship that develops faster than ice melts in the sun. The innocence of Melissa came through slightly, but was, in the end, still underdeveloped.
I suppose that is it. The book doesn’t deserve any awards...but will remain (I am sure) on the top 10 list for men who are closeted pedophiles.